Monday, February 16, 2015

Celebrating the 2015 Herb of the Year-The 411 on Summer Savory and Winter Savory, Part Three!

One of My Herbal Favorites, Homegrown Herbs!
Well, since it is brutally cold outside and the ground is covered with snow again, let's continue our celebration of the savories, both summer and winter!  Here is one of my favorite contemporary herb books, Homegrown Herbs by Tammi Hartung from 2011.  In this book Tammi gets right to the point about each herb.  So here are her thoughts.

Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)  grows to 12 to 20 inches as a small, bushy plant.  It is covered with pale lavender flowers that look like it sparkles with all of the blooms.  It is an herbaceous annual, but if it likes its location, it will reseed itself.  So I would call it a half-hardy annual for me.  The several times I have grown it in my herb garden, it has been happy enough to reseed into a some hedge.

Summer savory is from the Mediterranean region so it prefers hot and dry.  It does well in my herb garden. So I guess it can withstand clay soils and humid conditions.  Sow seeds indoors and they will sprout in about two weeks.  You don't need to do anything special to have the seeds germinate.  Transplant them outside in late spring.  Plant 10 to 12 inches apart and water lightly to moderately.  They do well in full sun or partial shade (I would say morning sun and afternoon shade if possible.) and well-drained soil.  Again, summer savory does well in our clay soils.

Harvest the stems of the plant throughout the summer even after it begins to bloom.  Summer savory is a wonderful seasoning for lamb, potato and green bean dishes and use just a touch in your salad.

Medicinal uses include that summer savory is recommended for digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts.  It is also used for throat conditions and skin health.  You can use it both fresh and dried.  Home herbalists make infusions, traditional tinctures and a cider vinegar tincture from summer savory.

Winter Savory (Satureja montana)  is a native to Turkey and North Africa and is a hardy evergreen herb with lovely white flowers in mid to late summer. 

It is a woody plant that grows to about 12 inches in height with purple, blue and "occasionally" white flowers.  I have only had winter savory bloom white.  I have come to realize that winter savory does get through very cold winters like the winter of 2014 killed my two existing winter savories.  I didn't realize that I had lost both of them until I started doing research for this series.  So maybe winter savory needs to be in a container for me, especially the ones that are hardy in the higher zones.  It is also tolerate of acid soils.

Propagation of seeds is very successful when started indoors and then transplanted in the garden in mid to late spring 12 to 15 inches apart.  Once transplanted give them low to moderate water.  Winter savory works well in combination with hyssop, lavender, thyme and sages.

Cut the aerial parts of the plant with clippers.    It is most used in culinary use for soups and stews.
Winter savory also goes with cabbage, potatoes and other root vegetables.  The dried herb is used to cover the outside of goat cheese.  The flowers of both summer and winter savory work well in butter and are delicious with vegetables.

I really like Homegrown Herbs and if you have not seen it, maybe it should be included on your wish list.  Well, the cold weather and snow aren't going to let up now for the last couple weeks of this month at least.  Will probably just keep giving you the herb books I have been reading and what they say about the savories!  So make yourself a cup of herbal tea and join me on our savory adventures!

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